Phoenix City Council approves Talking Stick Resort Arena renovation plan

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- A multimillion dollar renovation at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Downtown Phoenix is moving ahead.

After delaying a vote last month and then scheduling several public meetings for input, the Phoenix City Council voted to approve the plan, in a six-to-two vote Wednesday afternoon.

$150 million will come from the city, and roughly $80 million, plus overrun, will come from the team. The deal will also keep the Suns in Downtown Phoenix until at least 2037, with an option to extend to 2042.

The meeting wasn't without its fireworks, however. Beside the appearance of a man who was convicted and imprisoned for shooting former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox over her support of a deal to fund a stadium now known as Chase Field, there were multiple Phoenix residents who didn't support spending taxpayer money on the renovations, regardless of whether or not it came from a tourism tax.

"The argument is we'll use the tourism fund to spend it," said one man. "For some reason, people believe this isn't their money. This is like my grandmother sending me money for my birthday. I didn't earn it, but it has value, I can use it." 

But in the end, there were some tweaks.  The Suns wil now l be required to spend $10 million on community benefits, with a portion going towards the Head Start preschool program. The rent increase revenue will go towards homeless problems, and other additional revenue will towards public safety funding. 

Suns owner Robert Sarver called those "easy ones" to agree to.

"It's in our DNA to be good community partners, and I know we have a lot of work to do on the court, I know I've let some people down, but our organization works our tail off," said Sarver.

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